Dear Ones,
May you have a blessed Ash Wednesday! As we begin this Lenten season, may this be an especially meaningful time for us all. We are still in the healing process and hoping our energy level will rise some more. We are content to stay in our snug apt for now but also longing to get outside on the trail again. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Blessings on this Ash Wednesday! Lent is here and we begin the 40 day period until Easter. The paraments at church are changed to the color purple which stands for penance, preparation and sacrifice, as well as royalty. During this time, we think of Jesus 40 days in the desert as he was tempted by the devil and how He overcame him. We remember His tremendous sacrifice on the cross for us.
Although Al and I would like to be at the Ash Wednesday service, we are going to skip this year to be sure we are completely well and not going to pass anything on to others. Our pastor will be putting ashes in the sign of the cross on the foreheads of all, as with many churches. Ashes represent repentance and it is a time of humbling ourselves before the Lord and asking Him to cleanse us from all our sin. It’s also a reminder that we were dust and one day we will return to dust. (Gen 3:19)
Now many people give up something during lent to make more room for the Lord.  But whatever it is, we don’t need to put it on Facebook for all to read and to appear pious before others. It is rather something hidden that we do out of love for the Lord and is between Him and us. I find it helps me to be reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made for me, as I give up something that is sacrificial for me.
The Lord is after our hearts and not that we keep certain rules, or do outward displays. He wants to have a close relationship with us built on love and humility and gratitude.
We all know what it is like to give something of value to another and yet we may not even get a thank you or an acknowledgement that they received it. I wonder if that is how the Lord feels when we take things for granted, when He suffered and gave everything for us. It is not something to pass over quickly but to ponder, to appreciate, to be full of gratitude, and to be changed because of it.
Let us enter the Lenten season with humble, repentant hearts that are aware of our own sinful ways but also full of gratitude for what Jesus did for us.
Challenge for today: Spend some time in confession of your sins and then time thanking the Lord for His pardoning grace.
Blessings on your Lenten journey and prayers and love, Judy